A federal judge has struck down a Virginia law that allows only state residents to circulate petitions to get presidential candidates on the general election ballot. U.S. District Judge John Gibney ruled Monday in favor of the Libertarian Party of Virginia. He said the restriction severely burdens the party’s freedom of speech and is not narrowly tailored to promote a compelling state interest.
Under state law, any party that fails to get 10 percent of the votes cast in either of the last two statewide elections must submit petitions containing at least 10,000 voter signatures to get a candidate on the presidential ballot. At least 400 signatures must be from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts, and only Virginia residents can circulate petitions.